How to Make a Magnetic Cover to Hide Your Ugly Air Return

Do you hate you air return vent? Me too!


Welcome to the February Pinterest Challenge Blog Hop, hosted by My Pinterventures. The purpose of this Pinterest Challenge is to motivate all the participants of this hop (and you too) to not just pin, but to make it happen! This month, I chose to create an air return vent cover.



I looked up a bunch of covers but they were sooo expensive. I was going to take it out and spray paint it but it is sealed to our walls with foam filler. there was no way of removing it to replace it or spray paint it so I decided to make a cover for it! There was lots of ups and downs with this project! I hope I can help you get through it a lot easier than I did!


  • Miter saw
  • Scissors
  • Nail gun
  • Pin Nails
  • Wood Glue
  • E6000
  • Drill press/ drill
  • 1” Drill bit
  • Drill, Flat edge/square, level, measuring tape, Sander, pencil, painters tape


  • 1x4x8
  • Decorative sheet metal
  • Round 1” magnets
  • White duct tape
  • Paint
  • Filler

Cut list

  • Cut down 1×4 into 1x2s and 1x1s
  • 2- 1x2x27.75 from l-l
  • 2- 1x2x22.75 from l-l
  • 2- 1x1x22.75 from s-s
  • 2- 1x1x27.75 from s-s
  • Metal- 25.75 x 20.75

*all angles are 45°

Step 1

Clean the air intake the best you can with soap, water, and vinegar. Next I painted the  surrounding wall of the air intake. Finally I paint the air intake with a roller and black paint from Ace Hardware. I do not recommend this stuff! It took each coat 4 days to dry! The paint did not go on smoothly and it is soo glossy it looks wet! I also had to put 4 coats! If you can, take it off the hinges or pull the whole thing out and spray paint it! I did not have that luxury. 

Step 2

Cut the 1×2 pieces to cover the intake. Next drill holes in them for the magnets, I did 3 holes on the small pieces and 4 on the longer pieces. Glue the magnets in the holes with E600.


Step 3

Cut the 1×1 outside pieces. fit the 1x1s vertically to the outside of the 1x2s, which leaves 1/4 inch above the 1x2s, this covers the outside of the air intake. Next glue and pin nail the boards together. I let dry overnight. After it was dry I filled the cracks and corners with wood filler. Let it dry then sand and paint.


Step 4

Cut metal with scissors. Then glue the metal to the wood, over the magnets. I used duct tape to cover the sharp edges. Let it dry. Touch up any paint. Then fit/snap to air intake. Done!



I hope this helps you! Lets hide these ugly suckers! #coveruglyairreturnvents

For another approach check out Simplicity in the South!

She is amazing!!



Please pin for later and share with all your friends! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog below! If you need more DIY ideas check out these drawer dividers and these upcoming projects until next week!


Thanks for browsing friends! Love to connect with you! Shoot me an email or DM me on instagram! I’d love to have some guest bloggers or do some post roundups/collaberations in April/May when the new baby arrives!?

To join next month’s #pinterestchallenge, click here to sign-up ⇒ March Pinterest Challenge

Now let’s see what other things Pinterest inspired! Head over and visit the other hosts to see what they crafted, cooked, built, or tried!

Pinterest Challenge Blog Hop

Erlene – My Pinterventures • Jenny – Cookies Coffee and Crafts Debbee – Debbee’s BuzzBri – Halfpint Design • Julie – Sum of their Stories T’onna – Sew Crafty CrochetBeverly – Across the Boulevard • Debra – Shoppe No. 5 Roseann – This Autoimmune LifeCherryl – Farm Girl Reformed Leslie – Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever AfterKelley – Simply Inspired Meals Lydia – Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen •Joanne – Our Unschooling Journey Kristie – Teadoddles • Gail – Purple Hues and MeAshley – Emory Farm Kristie – Love My Little Cottage • Crissy – First Day of Home Habiba – Craftify My Love • Marie – The Inspiration Vault • Emily – Domestic Deadline Lauren – Mom Home Guide • Maria – Simple Nature Decor Alexandra – Eye Love Knots • Lynne – My Family Thyme Marci – Stone Cottage Adventures • Terrie – Decorate & More with Tip Susan – SuzerSpace • Kim – Kimspired DIY • Pili – My Sweet Things Kelli – K’s Olympic Nest • Erin – The DIY Nuts • Shirley – Intelligent Domestications

Pinterest Inspired Projects

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33 thoughts on “How to Make a Magnetic Cover to Hide Your Ugly Air Return

  1. Habiba Elkaihel

    You did such a lovely job on this. We don’t have an air return here in our German home but I bet this could come in handy for other creative home decor solutions as well.

  2. Emily

    This looks great! I did all my air vent and returns when we first moved into our house, had to customize them since I thought the metal slated ones were so ugly. Since there was no metal for mine to cling to, I used command strips so they are removable for cleaning.

  3. Debbee

    I don’t have as unsightly air returns. My wallpaper guy camouflaged ours with wallpaper and they bland in nicely. You DIY would be a great option for others in your situation.

  4. thediynuts

    I love your spray paint shelter!!!!!! That is always something I have to consider when wanting to do a project in the winter in Ohio! Thanks for sharing this great project!

  5. Erlene

    Oh what a great idea to use magnets! I think this would work on our old fireplace that we never use. I think it would be so much nice with a cover over it like this. Nice job! Pinned.

  6. Intelligent Domestications

    What a clever and fun idea to solve a real problem. Ours was visible in our prior home which meant having to constantly keep it clean. I never would have thought to do something like this. Very cool indeed!

  7. Susan

    Thanks for sharing all the pitfalls – when I work on a project and hit a snag I wonder what I’ve done wrong that the original post didn’t. Maybe it’s just that they didn’t give enough details.

  8. rawsonjl

    I hate when a project turns out to me more of a PROJECT than I intended. It turned out beautifully in the end though. Pinned.

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